Modular Construction: AIA Urban Design Panel Discussion

On Sunday, November 5, I had the privilege of participating in the American Institute of Architect (Cincinnati) Annual Meeting and Panel Discussion. This year's focus was on Urban Design and creating affordable housing solutions, and I presented on a project I am leading with my building company, Roost Builders.

Roost Builders specializes in building LEED certified modular homes in Cincinnati. We are working on a development in Evanston using a type of modular construction known as "Industrialized Units."

In this construction, 15'8" x 60' boxes are placed on top of or next to one another to form the size of the space that you need. One of the most common misunderstandings about modular home construction is that they are mobile homes. As displayed in the photos above, modular housing is typically a suburbs or rural single family home, although the potential to build apartments and floating homes exists.

Units are fully equipped with power and windows, and utilities are in place before units leave the factory. In a single day, an entire community of homes can be installed. Once they are in place, the interior is fitted out with cabinets, a microwave and dishwasher, lighting fixtures, granite countertops, sinks, finished floors, and more.

Boxes need to be reinforced once the units are in place, but the majority of work is complete before the units are brought to the installation location.

The benefits of modular construction are numerous, including:

  • Fast construction: A typical home is built in three weeks, reducing costs through minimal financing

  • Energy Efficiency: Out of the box, these homes are almost LEED ready

  • Strength: These homes are built using better construction techniques and experience no weather issues while under construction

  • Replicability: Homes can be rebuilt multiple times without being re-permitted

  • Lower permit fees

  • Lower overhead costs

  • Fewer employees required

  • Lower liability and lower insurance rates

One of the most important aspects of these homes--beyond the ease of construction and installation--is the need to make the home current and attractive. The rendering above shows the final design of a current Roost Builder modular home. By using quality materials and windows judiciously, we work hard to ensure we're creating houses that anyone would be proud to call home.

Many thanks to AIA Cincinnati for including me at a great event and inviting me to participate alongside a fantastic group of panelists!

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